A pleasure today to share my review of Fulfilment, the third and final book in the Skye Series from Anne Stormont: published on 15th May by Rowan Russell Books, it’s now available for kindle (free via Kindle Unlimited) and in paperback. My reading copy was my own – the kindle version, purchased from Amazon.
I’ve been rather looking forward to this one! I never did manage to catch up with Displacement, the first in the series – but I thoroughly enjoyed the second, Settlement, and included it in my 2019 list of Books of the Year. You’ll find my review here – with its insights into the challenges of a mature relationship, dramatic and well-drawn settings and crime thriller elements, it was very much my kind of book – and Anne also joined me with a rather lovely guest post that set the scene perfectly (you’ll find it here). I really wanted to see how life turned out for Jack and Rachel, as they’d most certainly found a place in my heart…
The path of true love rarely runs smoothly…
When former Edinburgh police detective Jack Baxter met local author and crofter Rachel Campbell on the Scottish island of Skye, they fell in love. It was a second chance at happiness for both of them.
They both had emotional baggage. Jack helped Rachel cope with unimaginable grief after the death in combat of her soldier son, and Rachel was there for Jack after a criminal with a grudge almost ended his life. There were many bumps along the road but they believed they’d worked through and settled their differences.
However, Jack is struggling. Still suffering from post-traumatic stress, haunted by his past, and taunted by the demons of self-doubt, he feels Rachel deserves better.
Meanwhile, Rachel is busy preparing for the launch of her latest book – a book in honour of her son and aimed at promoting peace. So at first she fails to notice just how troubled Jack is.
Can Jack overcome his demons? Can Rachel convince Jack he deserves to be loved? Can they finally resolve their differences and fulfil their dreams together?
If you like mature, emotional and thought-provoking contemporary romance in a dramatic setting, then this is a book for you.
Anne Stormont creates such wonderful characters. Some of Jack and Rachel’s issues are familiar, easy to identify with for anyone in later life – the legacy from their earlier lives, their wins and losses, their relationships with their families, their concerns about whether commitment would jeopardise the independence and freedom they now have. But Jack has some even bigger issues, perhaps not so familiar to many, caused by his life experiences, and that create an even greater barrier to their future happiness together.
This is perhaps a rather quieter book than the last – it’s driven more by the relationship and Jack’s efforts to overcome his demons, without any of the externally-driven fireworks, but it certainly didn’t make me like it any less. Although there’s a fairly substantial cast of characters – family, friends, acquaintances (and an ex-husband) – this is very much Jack and Rachel’s story and driven by the emotional complexities of their relationship. Theirs was a struggle that made me ache – at times I wanted to bang their heads together, as opportunities to heal and find comfort in each other were repeatedly allowed to slip away, but I also knew that they needed to find each other at a pace that was right for them both.
As with the earlier book, I very much liked very much the way the story was told – taking you inside the characters’ thoughts and feelings, their clear voices, the reasons for the choices they make, allowing you to share their private moments. And sometimes the story is dialogue driven – now and then they’re conversations you feel you shouldn’t really be party to, but it’s a powerful way of making the reader part of their struggle.
There were other elements I really liked. There are the most vivid descriptions of the Skye landscape with a really strong sense of place – life on the croft, Jack’s walks, even the challenges of the weather. And the focus moves once again to Israel-Palestine, exploring some of the issues, introducing a few well-drawn characters, and presenting different kinds of challenges. The impending publication of Rachel’s book is another thing that drives the story, along with Jack’s plans to create a rehabilitation facility and Rachel’s plans for a lasting tribute to her son – all really well handled.
This might be the third in a series – and I particularly welcomed the opportunity to spend more time with Jack and Rachel – but there would be nothing preventing anyone from picking it up as a standalone read, and enjoying it as much as I did. The emotional baggage that weighs them both down and stops them moving forward is fully explained – I rather appreciated that too, as it was a little while since I’d read the last book. I very much enjoy Anne Stormont’s writing – and you might just like it too.
About the author
Anne Stormont writes contemporary romantic fiction where the main characters are older – but not necessarily wiser.
She hopes the stories she tells will entertain, but she also hopes they will move, challenge and inspire her readers.
Anne is a Scot, living in the land of her birth. She’s a retired teacher and when she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, country walks and gardening – and the occasional pillion ride on her husband’s motor bike. She also loves spending time with friends and family – especially her two grandchildren.
Anne has travelled all over the world and has visited every continent except Antarctica – somewhere she really should go considering her penchant for penguins.
She can be a bit of a subversive old bat, but she tries to maintain a kind heart.